CONJUNCTIONS: A Web Exclusive
Three Poems
Steve Barbaro



Sorta

I.

                  I like
               lakes; I like
                   not quite
                 evading modern
                     places: I like
the armature of the moment E-shaped
    crowds spread in a lamplight
       filled bubble across a vast
           lawn high-pitchedly.

II.

  The face of the sum of each
                 day really
         is covered with bulbs
   blasting the tallest,
                        roundest
                    light towards flatnesses & I
         watch, waste, go
            away, carry
                  clear
              bags holding
              liquids when they’re most
                     inert, fondleable.

III.

I like ponds; I like shrillful
        strayings circling
    modern places: I like, like
     the plenitude of the days
       U-shaped crowds curl
             like faintly
  shriveled bubbles over
      the corners,
  the casings of steep
               lawns. Limbs
                      rhyme.








For a Friend

I.


                                                            into will: was it dumb
                                                                 motion
                                                                   shrilled as
                                                               such or simply
                                                         will alone
                                                                stripping
                                                                      itself
                                                                down to
                                                                    a crude
                                                                         but more
                                                                     pure
                                                                            force—


II.


—silence congeals but conceal, here, the clatterings—


III.


                                                will’s
                            source
: was it a crude
                                        but more
                                   pure
                                           force
                                          culled there-
                                                 from or simply
                                                             dumb
                                                          motion shrilled
                                                             yet sub-
                                                                  sumed—








The Lighthouse Verdict

Curtailed distance as a vague harangue.
Binoculars: coverings, inducements. Shuttlings.
Distance, pronounced: a discreetly hissing wound?
The toy gyroscope is not rattling at the staircase’s
Bottom, nor does the shrill rattle down the steep staircase
Reflect anything but passing foolery, a mind at low play
Pushing up but mostly just against its own boundaries.
Binoculars: self-extension purely realized; or, best
Eyes.    A set.       One.          One set.
Most of the instruments dusty & dark in the cabinets …
And the cabinets kept, per design, at ten-foot
Intervals throughout the lamp-cluttered, musty
Upper room. Twin rattles down the staircase: someone’s

Home? The loose breath of the straying mind: glass is fogged.
A crowd pushes like something’s limb across the sand.
The staircase, say it, staircase—one pair of arms? Of legs?
There’s a system well imposed & upon—see it—the face.




These poems are from Neptune’s Hyperopia, Steve Barbaro’s first manuscript. Other selections have appeared in American Letters & Commentary, Denver Quarterly, Washington Square, Lo-Ball Magazine, and DIAGRAM.